A new app developed in China will alert users if they are within 1,640 feet of someone in debt.
The “Map of Deadbeat Debtors” app will show debtors’ personal information, including full name, and can be accessed through the popular Chinese social media platform WeChat, according to China Daily.
The state-run newspaper said that the goal of the app is to make it easier to detect people who are unable to meet their debts. Northern China’s Hebei province unveiled the app earlier this month.
“It’s a part of our measures to enforce our rulings and create a socially credible environment,” a spokesman for the Higher People’s Court of Hebei told China Daily.
It comes amid the country gearing up to launch a social credit system in 2020, which would monitor the behavior of China’s 1.4 billion citizens.
The Chinese government began developing the social credit system in 2011. It is designed to rate citizens based off of their behavior, such as composure on public transportation or the ability to pay off debt. Those ratings can then affect everything from permission to board flights to approval for loans.
The system is partially in operation now, and some people have already been punished.
According to another state media outlet, Global Times, over 6,000 Chinese citizens with credit problems were banned from taking domestic trains or planes in the second half of 2018.
It is unclear the full impact this new app will have on the privacy of the Chinese people. However, in China, over 1 billion people are currently on WeChat, and the number is expected to grow.
“This app is totalitarianism at work,” Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” told Fox News.
Mr. Chang added, “The communist party is seeking to control all behavior with its nationwide social credit system, and this app is an outgrowth of that horrendous effort.”
When asked about privacy concerns regarding this new app, Mr. Chang responded, “There is no privacy in China.”
Fox News has reached out to Tencent, owner of WeChat, for comment.
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